NaBloPoMo DAY 24:
I am no expert when it comes to music but as someone who has listened to a variety of tunes over the years, I know what I like. Which makes me somewhat of a music enthusiast.
Music has been a constant in my life, seeing me through good times and bad and all the times in between. In fact, much like in the movies, I’ve often imagined myself walking through the streets of Manhattan, a la Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” with a cup of coffee in my hand and the refrain of “Moon River” playing over me. Or I was more like Mary Tyler Moore, tossing my Tam o’ Shanter cap in the air to the tune of, “You’re going to make it after all.”
To illustrate how strong a bond we humans have to music, consider that one of my earliest memories is a Nat King Cole song which was a popular hit way back when. The song? “Autumn Leaves.”
I was barely a year old when I first heard it, thanks to my mother who’d listen to it incessantly on her favorite New York radio station, WNEW. The song became sealed on my soul. Around the same time, another song was making its mark and I went crazy for that one, too. It was Dean Martin’s peppy rendition of “Volare.”
In sixth grade, my music teacher had our class singing “The 12 Days of Christmas,” just before our holiday break. She assigned me to sing the refrain, “five golden rings.” When my turn came, I stood up and belted out in my best soprano,
“FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!”
The teacher had never heard me sing, and didn’t expect I could carry a tune. But I could, and so she signed me up for glee club. I immediately felt as though I’d been discovered, and was convinced I was going to be the next Barbra Streisand. I would practice saying, “No autographs, please!” And, if you saw me walking to the library or hanging out at the mall, chances are you heard me singing, “Don’t rain on my parade” and “Oh my man I love him so…”
I stayed in glee club and choir all through high school. I even learned to play piano, mastering Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” To this day, the piano and the saxophone remain my favorite musical instruments. Piano music sounds wonderful no matter what the style of music and, in my estimation, the sax was made for jazz.
In college I dropped out of chorus. No longer were we performing the songs from my high school days–show tunes and snappy, uplifting music like Handel’s “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God” or “Doctor Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain.” We were now forced to sing brooding music which wasn’t my cup of tea.
Sprinkled through the college years were Carly Simon’s “The Boys in the Trees,” Kool & the Gang’s “Hollywood Swinging,” and Joni Mitchell’s “Help me, I think I’m falling in love again.” If you ask me, Joni’s “Court and Spark” album has to be one of the ten all-time best, absolutely brilliant albums in the world, I kid you not.
Fast forward to divorce and I want to thank the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, along with Whitney Houston, Sting and Bono for getting me through that nightmare period of my life. Without Whitney to sing along with, “I will always love you,” touching every string of my melodramatic heart, who knows where I’d be today! Ditto for Meatloaf’s rendition of “I will do anything for love but I won’t do that.” Amen!
Driving along dark winding roads at night, the thought of driving off into a steep ravine would envelop me in those bleak days, but the voices of these musicians on my car stereo, were louder and ever stronger, helping stem my grief and pain, until the day finally came when I was able to say to Gloria Gaynor, I too will survive, despite once being afraid and petrified.
As a connoisseur of music, I love all kinds. The proof is in my iTunes playlist–over 8,000 songs and counting. I even had a country music period, which hasn’t quite gone away. I love Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Martina McBride and Clint Black singing with his wife, Lisa Harmon, “When I said I Do.” Don’t get me started on that amazing number.
Here’s a list of my Top 20 songs, in no particular order (Mind you, it was extremely difficult to keep it to 20):
Rod Stewart – “Maggie May”
Joni Mitchell “Morning Morgantown”
Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
U2 “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Lulu “To Sir With Love”
Smokey Robinson “The Tears of a Clown”
Stevie Wonder “My Cherie Amour”
The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night”
Carly Simon “Let the River Run”
Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You”
Louis Armstrong “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”
The Beatles “I Will”
Carole King “I Feel the Earth Move”
Dixie Chicks “Cowboy Take Me Away”
Elton John “Crocodile Rock”
Bobby Darin “Beyond the Sea”
The Who “Baba O’Riley”
Billy Joel “James”
Rodgers & Hammerstein “It Might as Well be Spring”
Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly with His Song”
Now, go listen to these songs and tell me angels never weep.
So, what are your all-time favorite songs? Do tell!
Note: This is the last week of NaBloPoMo. Thirty days, 30 posts. How am I doing? How’s my driving? Too fast, too slow or what?
I’m awarding a prize to one lucky reader–the one person who has commented on the most posts this month. If there’s a tie, I’ll do a drawing. So, what are you waiting for?